Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's Fresh with Stefan Petrucha's Rule of Won & a Giveaway!

The secret of The Rule of Won is simple, yet its power has been suppressed for generations. The universe is one of infinite abundance—ask, and you shall receive.

Umm, yeah right. Meet Caleb Dunne, slacker extraordinaire. Caleb prefers to glide through life with the minimal amount of effort, so he isn’t too jazzed when his overachieving girlfriend, Vicky, convinces him to join a new school club based on a controversial book, The Rule of Won. Slackers don’t join school clubs, do they? As The Rule gains popularity, though, the club members start to gain power within the school. From dark posts on the club’s online message board to all-out threats in the hallways, it becomes apparent that the group is getting out of control. For slacker Caleb, though, the only thing worse than doing something is not doing something.

Darkly funny and exceptionally thought-provoking, The Rule of Won, inspired by the ideas behind books like the runaway hit The Secret, shines a light on the dangers of group thinking and the inner desires that can sometimes get the best of us all.

Hi Stefan, thanks so much for sharing with us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Stefan: Sure! I’d been writing comic books professionally for years, but also trying to sell novels and screenplays. I actually self-published my first novel, Making God in 1997 and received a number of nice reviews.

My big break in book publishing came at the North Eastern Writer’s Conference, where I met the fabulous Liesa Abrams, at the time an editor for Razorbill/Penguin. I heard she was looking for YA authors, and she’d heard some people recommend me based on my comic writing (I was pretty well known for writing The X-Files comic book, based on the TV show). I wound up
pitching a few ideas, she picked one, and I did a few sample chapters, which became the four-book Timetripper series.

A funny fact about my career that surprises many of my fellow writers is that I’ve never actually sold a completed novel – I’ve always gone to contract based on sample chapters, then finished the book on a deadline basis. I’ve found establishing the dialogue with the editor sooner not only gets them more invested, it makes it more likely to result in something everyone’s happy with.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Stefan: Okay, but it’ll sound boring! On schooldays I’ll rise at 6:15 AM, make breakfast for the kids, see them off to the bus and wonderful wife Sarah off to work by 8:30. Sometimes I tinker on the piano a bit, then haul myself up to my office and spend about an hour answering email and cruising the web. I’ll write until 11-ish, then exercise for about an hour, while watching my latest Netflix.

Afternoons I like to pack up the laptop and head to a local coffee shop and work there for a few hours. I sometimes find it easier to focus when I’m away from home. In my office there’s too much else to do. At a coffee shop, I feel silly sitting there doing nothing, so I wind up working. The kids are home by 3:00. I make them a snack, then usually work until dinner

I admit it doesn’t sound very exciting, but throughout my mind is a seething cauldron of unbridled creativity that threatens to call down the stars from their distant, uncaring void and unleash a fiery cataclysm upon our most primal understanding of ourselves and the world. Then Sarah and I read with the kids, watch the Colbert Report and go to bed by 11.

Please tell us about your latest novel Rule of Won and what we can expect from your characters.

Stefan: The Rule of Won was released in September from Walker Books for Young Readers. My second hardcover with them, it’s a very wry look at a certain variety of self-help books like The Secret, which preach that all you have to do to achieve your heart’s desire is imagine that you already have it.

Caleb Dunne is the main character, a devoted slacker who’s trying to keep his over-achieving girlfriend from breaking up with him after a nasty incident in which he’s accused of trying to destroy the school gym. She steers him toward an after-school group devoted to the principles of The Rule of Won. When some of the group’s desires seem to come true “miraculously” the group begins to take over the school, even the teachers, and Caleb, when he stops believing, winds up standing alone against them.

Aside from Caleb, and the leader, Ethan, the group itself becomes an important character through a series of chapters that follow their messages board postings. I thought it was a nice way to get the feel of the school across, and explore how easy it is to get caught up in group-think.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Stefan: I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my third book for Walker, Split, which is a little tough to describe. In a way, it’s actually two novels, each about the same person, Wade, if he’d made different choices with his life.

In one, Wade’s a wild child – he quit school and plays guitar at a coffee dive. In the other he’s incredibly responsible and working a project he believes will save the world. When he’s awake in one life, he’s asleep and dreaming in the other – but one world begins to intrude on the other and the two Wades find they have to switch to help each other out. There’s lots of
little threads to the stories that have to intersect, so it’s been a tough project, but I’m very excited about it – it may be my best yet!

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Stefan! I wish you the best with your writing. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Stefan: Oh, there are so many. A lot of people say you should write what you love, but to be a professional writer (and that’s not always the same as being a good writer), you have to write what other people love (and no, they’re not always the same thing.)

My favorite bit of advice has always been to read tons of stuff, develop great taste and then write what you love.

Born in the Bronx, Stefan Petrucha spent his formative years moving between the big city and the suburbs, both of which made him prefer escapism. A fan of comic books, science fiction and horror since learning to read, in high school and college he added a love for all sorts of literary work, eventually learning that the very best fiction always brings you back to reality, so, really, there's no way out.

An obsessive compulsion to create his own stories began at age ten and has since taken many forms, including novels, comics and video productions. At times, the need to pay the bills made him a tech writer, an educational writer, a public relations writer and an editor for trade journals, but fiction, in all its forms, has always been his passion. Every year he's made a living at that, he counts a lucky one. Fortunately, there've been many. He currently lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and fellow writer Sarah Kinney and their two daughters, Maia and Margo, where, frankly, it rocks. Visit his website,

Comment from now until Sunday and enter to win a copy of Rule Of Won! Winner to be announced Monday, Feb. 2nd!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's Fresh with Diana Rodriguez Wallach's Adios To All The Drama

What happens in Puerto Rico doesn't always stay there.

Mariana Ruiz thought she left her summer fling in Puerto Rico, that is until she finds Alex sitting across from her at the breakfast table. Living two doors down from her visiting old flame isn't easy, especially given the unresolved sparks still lingering for her locker buddy Bobby-and they don't exactly go unnoticed.

Her best friends are little help as Madison deals with her IM-only "boyfriend" and Emily sinks into secret mode after her parents' recent breakup. The only relationship that seems to be working is her estranged aunt Teresa who's tying the knot on New Years with Mariana and her cousin Lilly as bridesmaids. But the last wedding detail left unplanned is who will Mariana kiss at midnight?

Strained friendships, stolen kisses, and secret loves create plenty of surprises to unfold before the New Year's bells start ringing.

Hello Diana, it's great to chat with you again! Please tell us about your latest novel Adios To All The Drama.

Diana: Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Publishing, January 2009) is the third and final book in my Amor and Summer Secrets series. In it, Mariana Ruiz discovers that the summer fling she thought she left in Puerto Rico, Alex, will soon be coming for a visit. And as her old flame settles into the guestroom two doors down from her, Mariana finds herself conflicted between him and her lingering feelings for her Locker Buddy Bobby.

Additionally, her best friends are of little help as Madison deals with her IM-only “boyfriend” and Emily sinks into secret mode after her parents’ recent breakup. The only relationship that seems to be working is her estranged aunt Teresa who’s tying the knot on New Years Eve with Mariana and her cousin Lilly as bridesmaids. But as the wedding details unfold, one question remains. Who will Mariana kiss at midnight?

Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Diana: As you learn in the series debut, Amor and Summer Secrets, Mariana feels very disconnected from her cultural heritage. She doesn’t feel anymore Puerto Rican than she does Polish. So traveling to Puerto Rico for the first time is a huge culture shock for her. She doesn’t speak Spanish. She spoiled, she’s very close-minded, and she has no interest embracing her relatives.

But ultimately she learns to open up. And that newfound sense of self comes back with her from the island. So you see a very different Mariana in Amigas and School Scandals and Adios to All The Drama. She’s more worldly, more accepting, and eventually more assertive.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Diana: Well, Adios to All the Drama is the third book in the series. So it was inspired by the two books that came before. However, the first book in the series, Amor and Summer Secrets, was initially inspired by a conversation with my agent, Jenoyne Adams. She had mentioned seeing a recent increase in interest from editors seeking multi-cultural novels, and she asked the infamous question, “Got any ideas?” I didn’t. But by the end of our conversation, I had pitched the story for what became Amor and Summer Secrets.

Part of the inspiration was derived from my first trip to Puerto Rico after I graduated from college. I met my relatives there for the first time, and I got to see where my dad grew up. I wanted to share some of those experiences with my character while showcasing that the stereotypes about Latinas are just that—stereotypes.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Diana: My goal for Amor and Summer Secrets series was to offer a modern-day look at the reality facing many American teenagers who are torn between two ethnic groups. It doesn’t matter whether you’re half Polish and half Puerto Rican, or half Filipino and half Russian, people can relate to what Mariana’s feeling about her ethnic identity.

Additionally, I’m hoping to dissuade some of the beliefs that all Latinas look, talk or act a certain way. Unfortunately, we’re all not Selma Hayak (though I’m sure many of us wouldn’t mind her figure). We don’t all speak Spanish. We don’t all listen to salsa music. Latinas are a very diverse group, and I hope my novels help break some of those stereotypes.

Thanks for sharing with us, Diana! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Diana: I read a lot of YA. I just finished reading Skinned by Robin Wasserman, whom I participated with on a panel at the Baltimore Book Festival. Though I’m not usually a sci-fi fan, I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the sequel. I’ve also been reading a bunch of best selling authors whose works I hadn’t picked up before, like Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, and Dean Koontz.

Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s debut novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, is the first in a young adult series published by Kensington Publishing in September 2008. The sequels to the series, Amigas and School Scandals and Adios to all the Drama, were released in November 2008 and January 2009, respectively.

Born to a Puerto Rican father and a Polish mother, Diana has experienced the cultures her characters inhabit, and many of the multi-cultural themes expressed in her novels are based on her personal background.
Diana holds a journalism degree from Boston University, and has worked as a reporter and as an advocate for inner city public schools. Her first novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, sold to Kensington Publishing on Fat Tuesday 2007 while she was at Mardi Gras wearing beads and a feathered mask. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Jordan and her cat Lupi, who was rescued from a shelter in Harlem. Diana enjoys traveling, watching bad TV, reading great novels, practicing yoga and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles. Visit her website,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Best Booksigning Ever!

Some people favor their birthdays. Some holidays. Me? It’s my now-annual Once Upon a Time Book Launch Parties that makes my year!

Especially the one held last weekend, with record attendance and sales for The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, and the following quote from my teenage son, “Mom, that was your Best Booksigning Ever!”

I agree!

Many of you know about the game we played because we did the same giveaway here. My daughter and her best friend mingled around with a poster-sized version of my book cover (like the one behind my head here)

and pink slips of paper, asking for name, phone number and a guess as to the name of the lipstick.

Here are some of my favorite answers: Peachy-Keen, Blushing Pig, Kiss Me Coral, Caramel Kisses, Green (haha), Rose Petals in Springtime.

The true answer: Nude. (Dull. I know, right?) But it didn’t matter because we did random drawings, and soon had three winners of “the lipstick, some glosses and candy”: a walk-in customer, the mom of one of my favorite readers, and a teenage guy who said he was going to give it away on Valentine’s Day (aaaawww...).

Meanwhile, people moved in and out, in and out. Here’s some of the action:

Including a special “guest appearance” by favorite teen author, Paula Yoo.

Here I was, in the back of the store,

but I later heard from several sources that Billy Ray Cyrus from “Hannah Montana” (otherwise known as Miley Cyrus’ dad) strolled on by the store and glanced in at the action.

If I had known, I would have had someone yell, “Catch, Billy Ray!” and tossed him copies of all three of my books. For Miley, in case she’s looking for new projects. But alas, he was The Man Who Got Away.

Still, the fun was far from over, as more people came and went, and the store staff and I decided to have a little fun with the camera and the kissing theme.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Fresh with Jessica Burkhart's Take The Reins
Hello Jessica! Its awesome to have you here. I remember when first made the sale and its so cool to have you with us to chat. :) Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Jessica: I started freelancing for magazines in 2001 when I was fourteen. It took dozens of queries (you know, those awful “dear sir or madam” ones!) before I paused, read a few books on how to write queries and started again. Soon, I had my first acceptance from Teen Ink—a magazine that publishes work by students. I spent months writing for free to build my clip file and then I started targeting bigger magazines. I was so proud when I got my first freelancing check for $5. Party time! :)

I kept working my way up until I had acceptances from national magazines such as Girls’ Life and The Writer.

In November 2006, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and wrote Take the Reins as part of their “write a novel in 30 days” contest. I had a (bad!) finished draft on December first. I blogged that I’d finished my horse-themed novel and was looking for an agent.

On January 4, 2007, I got an e-mail from an agent who said she’d read my blog and would like to request my manuscript. Really?! I researched her, checked out the agency and e-mailed one of my published friends for advice before sending out the manuscript.

Later that month, I signed with Agent A. She gave me feedback on the manuscript and I revised from February to May before she submitted it to publishers. A few days after it went on submission, we had an offer from Simon & Schuster for a four-book deal. Getting The Call is a moment I’ll never forget!

You never forget your first call! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Jessica: Since I’m writing a series, there’s always something going on with multiple books. I might be working on copyedits for book #3, forming an idea for book #5 and writing the first draft of book #4 all at the same time.

My daily writing schedule is often something like this:

* Laptop on and ready for work! But…
* Must read top friends’ updates on Facebook
* Scan LiveJournal friends’ pages
* Comment on a few LJ blogs
* Read 47 new e-mails
* Respond to at least 5 of those 47 e-mails
* Check Facebook one more time
* Read Blogger friends’ entries
* Convince myself that nothing major happened on Facebook in the last 5 minutes
* Open Word instead of Google-stalking myself
* Write
* Write
* Write
* Keep writing while Incredimail e-mail notifier checks for new messages every three minutes. It barks, meows, sings or claps when I have new mail. That never gets old.
* Break for food.
* Check to see if anyone died on General Hospital
* Back to writing

I usually wrap it up by late evening. Then, I spend a couple of hours reading, working on publicity or proofreading printed pages.

Please tell us about your latest novel Take the Reins and what we can expect from your characters.

Jessica: Take the Reins releases on January 27, 2009 from Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin MIX and it’s the first book in the Canterwood Crest series.

Here’s a bit about the book…

Who says teammates have to be friends?

When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she's in trouble. She's not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls' claws come out.

Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing?

Great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Jessica: The next few months are going to be Canterwood crazy! :) Chasing Blue (Canterwood Crest #2) comes out in March 2009 and I can’t wait! The third CC book, Behind the Bit, releases in May 2009. Right now, I’m writing Triple Fault, the fourth book, and it comes out in August 2009.

So, yeah, I’ve got a few things coming up. :)

Congrats and best of luck, Jessica! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Jessica: Start a blog! After Agent A found me through my blog, I always encourage others to start one. Update it as often as you can and try to find that balance between personal and professional. Blogging is a great way to network with others in the publishing industry and it’s a challenge to keep coming up with fresh blog content.

My favorite reason for blogging is that mine documents my journey in publishing. Occasionally, I’ll read my old blog entries from 2006 and it reminds me of where I started. It’s fun to have something to look back on. :)

Jessica Burkhart is a twenty-one year old author. Before writing books, Jess published over 100 articles in magazines such as Girls’ Life and The Writer. Take the Reins, her debut middle-grade novel, releases on January 27, 2009 from Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin MIX. Find bonus Canterwood Crest content, a book trailer and more at and view Jess’ Diary of a Debut Author vlogs at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's Fresh with Teri Brown's Read My Lips

Serena just wants to fly under the radar at her new school. But Serena is deaf, and she can read lips really well-even across the busy cafeteria. So when the popular girls discover her talent, there's no turning back.

From skater chick to cookie-cutter prep, Serena's identity has done a 180...almost. She still wants to date Miller, the school rebel, and she's not ready to trade her hoodies for pink tees just yet. But she is rising through the ranks in the school's most exclusive clique.

With each new secret she uncovers, Serena feels pressure to find out more. Reading lips has always been her greatest talent, but now Serena just feels like a gigantic snoop...

Hi Teri, it's great of you to chat with us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Teri: Read My Lips is my first sale. I’ve always loved books and I have always written, but it wasn’t until I got online that I found the support I needed to really go for it and try to write professionally. I started in nonfiction and wrote articles and essays for magazines and websites, but I kept writing fiction because that is where my heart is. I wrote a horrible nano chicklit book and tried to get it published. Soon after that I was invited to join a critique group. That was the real beginning of my education, both writing-wise and industry-wise. I made the switch to young adult during that time realizing that my voice was best suited for that genre. Because I have teens and really enjoy that age, that is probably where I’ll stay. Soon after, I signed with Jenny Bent from Trident and she subbed my first YA which didn’t end up selling. Then she subbed Read my Lips. It took eight months before selling to Caroline Abby at Simon Pulse. (Caroline moved and is currently with Bloomsbury),

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Teri: Do I have one? No, sorry! LOL. My life is so busy right now that I am wondering where my writing fits. I write when I can. Let’s put it that way!

I know what you mean! Please tell us about your latest novel Read My Lips and what we can expect from your characters.

Teri: The one liner pitch for Read My Lips is: A deaf skater chick uses her ability to read lips to infiltrate the popular crowd, take down a secret sorority and tame the school rebel. Read My Lips came out last summer from Simon Pulse. And my characters are fairly typical teenagers. What I wanted to show was that a teen with a disability worries about the same things as teens who don’t have the same challenges.

Awesome! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Teri: I do have another project in the works. I have several proposals started but at the moment, I’m working on a book that’s very different and very special. I don’t think I’m going to say anything about it right now except that it is really stretching me as a writer. Which is a good thing…sometimes.

We are in the same boat, Teri! Good luck with your latest project. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Teri: Get to know your characters. Sometimes what I think should happen doesn’t end up fitting with the people I’m playing with. They always let me know!

Teri Brown turned to writing in a desperate attempt to keep from having to get a paying job at her local McDonalds. Fortunately, she's been successful, and her debut young adult novel, Read My Lips (Simon Pulse), came out June, 2008. She is also a contributing editor for iParenting Media, and her magazine credits include Writer’s Digest, Women’s Health and Fitness, Dog Fancy, and Oregon Coast Magazine, among others. Teri lives with her husband and children in a dilapidated 1969 ranch style house in Portland, Oregon. Visit her website,

Monday, January 19, 2009


Doing anything Tuesday evening, 6pm PST (9 pm EST)? Come chat with Tina (and friends) at Enchanting Reviews.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Signed Copy of the ABC's of Kissing Boys goes to...

Elizabeth Encarnacion!

Who not only correctly pointed out my source of the cute website, but was the random number on the handy-dandy random number generator that my husband made for me! (Please don't ask me how it works...I just know you plop in the total number and it picks the winner for you.)

Elizabeth, please e-mail me at with your address and I'll get the book in the mail to you!

And keep coming back, all. We continue to have lots of fun contests. And later this week, pictures from my booksigning, plus the name of the celebrity who happened by, looked in the window, and...well, more on that...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wanna Win a Copy of My Book?

To close our YA Fresh week-long celebration of the launch of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, we're giving away a signed copy to one commenter.

I was tempted to offer up another animal "Caption It!" contest, but came upon the following website that was sooooo darned cute that I just had to share with our YA FRESH readers: Cute Things Falling Asleep.

Take a peek, then come back and tell us what you thought. Even a word will do, but sorry, "cute" has been taken!

You'll automatically be entered. The contest starts NOW and will end at 6 pm PST on Sunday. Check back for the winner, and good luck!

In the meantime, here is a camera phone picture sent to me yesterday--a first New York City sighting of my book! Yay!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

YA FRESH Blog Debut: My Book Trailer!

Last month, I entered the Jo Leigh Charity Auction, and bid on a One Minute Book Trailer from Dee Tenorio of Stonecreek Media. I was thrilled to win, and soon Dee and I were fast at work, brainstorming a book trailer for The ABC’s of Kissing Boys.

She did a great and speedy job, and my web designer put it up on my website--in fact, all you have to do is click on the link to view the trailer. And if you’re so inclined, a few more clicks and you can read the first chapter of the book, as well.

I’m thrilled with the trailer, and have gotten lots of compliments (including from my Random House editor, Krista Marino). Yay!

The girl portraying Parker and the boy posing as Tristan are real good fits! The only real catch is that Tristan plays water polo and has to keep his hair short, but this story DOES start on right as school is resuming, so let’ s just imagine he let his hair grow out the summer, okay?

Please--check it and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kisses and Goodies!

And let's kick off today with the lucky winner of Tina's ABC's of Kissing Boys Lipstick goodie bag....

Book Spot, Lucile,  you are the winner!!!

Please contact Tina with your mailing address @ for your prize. Thanks for playing, Everyone, and don't forget there's another giveaway this week. :)

So I'm so super excited about Tina's latest release, as I am for every one of Tina's books, but this one...this one shares so many varieties of kissing that I just loved reading how this story unfolded. *smooches* It was a serious education! Parker Stanhope was one character I did not want to leave, but luckily I get to read ABC's again and again anytime I'd like.

You see, I only knew of one type of kiss as a young girl that was both scary and thrilling. The first kiss. I remember it in a sort of fond and laughable moment when I was supposed to kiss a boy for a full 5 seconds. An eternity, really. :) I was ready, though. I stood in front of the boy named Brandon, with his shaggy brown hair and safety-pinned pant legs, determined to get through these sure to be life-altering 5 seconds...

And what happened? The boy kissed me 5 quick pecks on the lips. For five kiss per second. haha! I chuckle everytime I think about it. I think I shall name that kiss the 5 Peck Kiss!

Come on, there isn't anything so thrilling, so memorable, as your first kiss. Have a first kiss moment to share? 


Monday, January 12, 2009

The ABC’s of Kissing Boys: The Lipstick Giveaway!
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys is hitting shelves tomorrow! I’m so excited! And stunned, for these past two years since I dreamed up the idea have gone by in a blur...

Part of the early fun was learning about kissing. Whoever knew there were so many different kinds of kisses? Steam Kiss? Caterpillar Kiss? See You Later Kiss? (Oh, wait, scratch that last hero, Tristan, made that one up...)

And part of the recent fun was trying--per some readers’ requests--to find the lipstick on the book's cover. My daughter and I set off to the mall, and were assisted by three very knowledge (and enthusiastic) cosmetic staffers who helped us decide on the closest fit.

We purchased several tubes of the lipstick, plus an array of pretty lip glosses and a bag of Hershey’s kisses to create prize bags for my launch party. And hey, this is a launch party, too, so I earmarked one of the bags for a YA Fresh friend.

The contest starts NOW and runs until 6 pm PST on Tuesday, January 13th.

Here’s what you do to enter: tell a friend that you’re entering Tina Ferraro’s contest to win the tube of the lipstick from the cover of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. Any friend. (Family and pets are okay, too--haha.) Then write the first name who you told in the comments. Like: “I told Lindsey.” Then you’re entered!

Kelly will announce the winner in her Wednesday blog here. And keep checking back all week because on Thursday there will be a "blog debut" (intrigued???) and on Friday, we're giving away a signed copy of...what else...The ABC's of Kissing Boys!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest to win an autographed copy of My Fair Godmother!

And the winner is...

Green Bean Teen Queen!

GBTQ, please contact me through my e-mail, with your mailing address and we'll get that copying winging to you!


And a mention to all of you that we'll be having TWO giveaways this upcoming week, in honor of the release of The ABC's of Kissing Boys, so please come back and enter!

Friday, January 09, 2009

CONTEST: Win a copy of My Fair Godmother!

Janette Rallison’s newest book, My Fair Godmother, releases this week. I had the pleasure of reading an Advanced Reader Copy over the holidays, and can tell you that its tag line, “Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience!” does more than describes the fairy tale aspect of the book, it sets the right tone: clever.

Here’s the blurb:

After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

I have to start by saying that I am a Janette Rallison fan. I love her fresh and funny views of life. And while I enjoyed those same elements in this book, the addition of the fairy tale element allowed her to take her talent to new heights.

Some of my favorite scenes include Savannah's attempts to learn the names of the Seven Dwarfs (which had me laughing out loud) and her funny interactions with Chrissy, a decidedly only "fair" godmother.
My teenaged daughter, who couldn't put the book down, told me she was particularly impressed with the hero, who she felt was good-looking, strong-willed, and "mature."

So in my opinion, My Fair Godmother has it all: love, laughter, adventure, friendship, ogres, fairies, leprechauns, dragons--and a plot that surprises and keeps the pages turning.

And now it's your turn: leave a comment about My Fair Godmother or any of Janette's books and be entered to win a signed copy! The contest starts NOW and concludes on Sunday, January 11th at 6:00 pm PST. GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What's Fresh with Eileen Cook's What Would Emma Do?

While juggling friendship issues (her best friend isn't speaking to her), a love triangle-turned-square (okay, maybe she shouldn't have kissed her best friend's boyfriend...but it was totally an accident!...sort of), and escalating mayhem in her small religious town (uh-oh...what would Jesus do?), Emma realizes she has to stop trying to please everyone around her and figure out what she wants for herself. It's time to start asking, "What would Emma do?"

Hi Eileen, its great to have you here! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Eileen: I was always a huge reader and as soon as I knew someone got to make up those stories I knew I wanted to do that same thing. My parents saved a homework assignment I did in second grade. We were supposed to write down some simple sentences, but I strung them together to make a story. My teacher wrote on the paper “I’m sure some day you’ll be a writer.”

When I was in college I decided that I better pick a field where I could get a “real job.” I continued to write, but never sent anything thing. Finally, I had the realization that I had nothing to lose to sending things in. Turns out rejection wasn’t nearly as bad as not trying at all. I saw an interview with my now agent, Rachel Vater, in a writer’s magazine. When I finished the book that would become Unpredictable (Berkley) I sent it off to her. She worked her agent mojo and we sold a few months later.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Eileen: People have a routine? I really should get one of those.

I love the idea of having a set routine or process, but I find my life keeps getting in the way. Sometimes I write at home and other times I like to be in a coffee shop or at the library. I write in the morning, afternoon or evening- depending on when I have the time. The only consistent would be that when I am in the middle of the story I find I need to write at least a small bit every day or I lose track of the story. What I would tell new writers is to try all different types of approaches until they find one they like. There isn’t one routine that works- it is a case of what works for you.

Please tell us about your latest novel What Would Emma Do and what we can expect from your characters.

Eileen: What Would Emma Do (Simon Pulse December 30 2008) came about when I recently re-read the Crucible. In the play a group of people begin blaming others of being witches and the situation burns out of control. It got me thinking about what would be the worst thing you could accuse someone of today and how easy it is for the mob mentality to take over. Those thoughts were the beginning of the story.

I wanted the characters to grapple with the question Can you still have strong relationships with people when you don’t want the same things anymore? I am fascinated by how we change and how those around us deal with that change.

Great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Eileen: I’m working on another YA, which is currently called Black and White. (Stay tuned the title may change.) It is a story of revenge, classic movies, friendship, and love. I’m having a lot of fun coming up with all sorts of nefarious plots for the revenge part. Turns out I have a very evil side.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Eileen! Best of luck with Emma! :) Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Eileen: Read- read a lot. You can learn so much about writing this way. Read books you like and books you hate. Break them down to see what works and what doesn’t. Underline or highlight passages/dialog you really like (assuming that this isn’t a library book). It isn’t about trying to write like someone else, it is about discovering the process of what makes a story work.

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. When she was unable to find any job postings for world famous author, she went to Michigan State University and became a counselor so she could at least afford her book buying habit. But real people have real problems, so she returned to writing because she liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else. Visit her webstie,

Monday, January 05, 2009

What's Fresh with Carrie Jones's NEED

Hello Carrie, its great to chat with you again! Please tell us about your latest novel.

Carrie: It's called NEED and it's published by Bloomsbury. It was released on Dec. 23 right before Christmas, which makes it a little scary because a lot of people aren't paying a lot of attention right before Christmas.

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

Sounds awesome! Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Carrie: Zara is pretty much made of awesome. She's a runner, and she's from Charleston. She is really devoted to social justice issues and Amnesty International. Her step-dad (who raised her) died and this gets her in a funk. She starts collecting phobias, which is cool. There are a ton of cool phobias out there. She's also awesome because she wants so badly to make the world better.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Carrie: I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.

Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out.

Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.

I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.

It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.

It also creeped me out.

So, I started writing.

Wow, that's a very cool backstory! hah! What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Carrie: That it's okay to NOT be the damsel in distress. That it's okay to try to change the world. And that can be the BIG world or your own world. And that it is very okay to fall in love with hot boys named Nick.

I personally would like to fall in love with a hot guy named Nick.

Thanks for sharing, Carrie. Best of luck with NEED! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Carrie: I am no good at the recommendations. I'm so sorry. Tastes are so ecclectic and then I start feeling like I'm playing favorites and I HATE playing favorites. Plus, what if I recommended HAMSTERS IN LOVE, which is an erotic hamster novel (not really I made it up) and then someone was afraid of hamsters and panicked while reading it and hurt their head in their mad dash to get away from the book because they slipped on the kitchen floor and banged into the refrigerator.

I just don't want to be responsible for that, so I'm wussing out.

Carrie Jones likes Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes. She does not know how to spell fudgsicles. This has not prevented her from writing books. She lives with her cute family in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber- comedian Sarah Silverman.

The Meyers brothers are from Bedford, too, so you’d think it would make Carrie funnier, coming from Bedford N.H. Obviously, something didn’t work.

Carrie has a large, skinny white dog and a fat cat. Both like fudgicles. Only the cat likes potatoes. This may be a reason for the kitty’s weight problem (Shh… don’t tell). Carrie has always liked cowboy hats but has never owned one. This is a very wrong thing. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award and the Independent Book Publishers Association First Place Award for her debut novel, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend. Visit her website,

Thursday, January 01, 2009